Top 10 cars coming in 2021
After a torrid 2020, the car industry is looking to bounce back this year with a raft of new models. Predictably the focus is on SUVs, which now dominate Australian driveways.
Here are the big arrivals for this year.
Hyundai launched the larger Palisade and Santa Fe at the end of last year, but the new Tucson mid-size SUV is its best-selling SUV. A cleaner look in the cabin increases its showroom appeal while sharper creases on its flanks and a bolder front end make it easy to spot in the crowd. Engines will be carried over from the previous model but new items such as wireless Apple Car Play will appeal to the tech savvy. A sporty version will be available later and is likely to be powered by the Sonata N-Line's 2.5-litre turbo putting out 213kW. The Tucson will be joined mid-year by the Ioniq 5, a sporty looking electric crossover based on the brand's new E-GMP platform.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Jeep has been slowly clawing its way back on to shopping lists after a long time in the wilderness and the arrival of the first new Grand Cherokee in a decade should help it build momentum. The big SUV is the backbone of the brand in Australia and expect the new one to up the ante on interior space, tech and comfort. It will be based on an Alfa Romeo rear-drive platform, so it should be more competent on the road while not losing any of its off-road nous. It will arrive in the fourth quarter.
The impressive new D-Max ute arrived towards the end of the year, which means the spin-off MU-X wagon will arrive sometime during the year. The MU-X is the most popular of the rugged, ute-based four-wheel-drive wagons, outselling Ford's Everest and Mitsubishi's Pajero Sport. The seven-seater should benefit from the tech and safety updates that debuted in the new D-Max this year. Prices are likely to rise in line with the better equipment levels.
Kia will add to its armoury with the city-focused Stonic baby SUV, expected to arrive in dealerships late this month or early February, while a hybrid version of the Sorento and the
e-Niro electric SUV will lob by mid-year. But the big news is a new Sportage. Built on similar underpinnings to Hyundai's Tucson, the Sportage will get fresh metal, upgraded tech including wireless smartphone mirroring and extensive active safety upgrades, while maintaining the same engines.
Can Mazda jam another crossover into its model line-up? Last year it squeezed the CX-30 in between the CX-3 and CX-5 and this year it adds the MX-30, which will be available initially as a mild hybrid in the first half of the year, then a fully electric offering from the middle of the year. Aimed at those who like to stand out from the crowd, the MX-30 has a sloping coupe-style roofline and rear doors that open backwards, a throwback to the RX-8 sports car. The cabin has imitation leather, cork and recycled plastic components to appeal to buyers with an environmental conscience.
After a quiet 2020, Mitsubishi will be pinning its hopes on the next-generation Outlander mid-size softroader, due in the second half of the year. The new Outlander is expected to share underpinnings with the next-generation Nissan X-Trail. It will be bigger, quieter and more sophisticated, with a substantial upgrade to safety tech. Engines are likely to include the 1.5-litre turbo from the current Eclipse Cross and Nissan's 2.5-litre four-cylinder, which will produce more power and torque than the current 2.4-litre motor. Expect a plug-in hybrid version as well.
A new Navara is due in late February or early March with a bold new look and upgraded technology. The big news is a new flagship model, the PRO-4X, which will be keenly priced at $59,790 drive-away, substantially cheaper than the top-of-the-range HiLux and Ranger. The range will start at $32,990 drive-away for ABN holders. More expensive models will have auto emergency braking, lane keeping assistance, blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert. Suspension tweaks have allowed for increased payload capacity but the diesel engine is carried over from the previous model.
It's a busy year for Subaru, starting with the launch of an all-new Outback in March. Launched in the US in early 2019, the Outback has been a long time coming to Australia. Subaru says the sixth-generation model is roomier, more powerful and more capable off-road. The model will have all the latest crash-avoidance tech and there will be a vertical, tablet-style touchscreen on the dash. The Outback will be joined later in the year by a new BRZ sports coupe, while the new WRX could sneak in before the end of the year.
The market leader had another big year in 2020 despite the pandemic but next year looks quieter. The main attraction will be an all-new Kluger seven-seater due in the first half of the year that will feature a hybrid four-cylinder model for the first time. The combined power output for the hybrid is expected to be about 180kW, while the 3.5-litre V6 puts out 218kW through an eight-speed auto. Built on a new platform, it should be better to drive and deliver more cabin space. The maker isn't saying anything about a new 86 sports car yet but it's short odds to arrive this year.
The Golf was delayed last year due to COVID but it will finally go on sale in May. In a sign of the times, though, VW's biggest new-car launch will be the new Tiguan mid-size SUV, on sale from quarter two. The new Tiguan will have a new exterior design, new engines and more standard active safety tech, as well as wireless smartphone mirroring. The range will kick off with a Life mode in front- and all-wheel drive with 110kW and 132kW turbo petrol four-cylinders, while Elegance and R-Line grades will have a choice of 162kW turbo petrol and 147kW turbo diesel engines matched to all-wheel-drive.
Originally published as Top 10 cars coming in 2021